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Meskwaki tell their own story with museum

Facility continues improvements, looks to future

November 3, 2012
By ANDREW POTTER - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

MESKWAKI SETTLEMENT - No one can quite tell the story of the Meskwaki tribe like the people themselves.

And their story unfolds at the museum at the settlement.

The museum opened last year and has been a popular place for those who want to learn more about the history of the Meskwaki people and the Sac & Fox Tribe.

Article Photos

Johnathan Buffalo, left, and Stephanie Snow stand in the Meskwaki museum, located near the tribal offices on the settlement. The museum opened last year and improvements continue to made at the facility.

Johnathan Buffalo, historical preservation director with Meskwaki, said the museum has been well-received and he finds great joy in sharing the history of the tribe with the public.

The museum features artifacts, photographs, maps and enough historical items that Buffalo said most people leave with their brain full of information.

"There's a whole bunch of information packed into that little room," Buffalo said.

There are tribal drums, headdresses, clothing and other artifacts, but the beaded work appears to get the most attention at the museum.

"I think people see the beauty in the work," Buffalo said.

Buffalo said there are typically two different types of museum visitors and they cater to both.

"Some people want to look at the artifacts and some people want to read and learn and we offer both," Buffalo said.

While the museum is a hit with visitors, it also is a sense of pride for members of the tribe.

"The tribe has been really supportive," Buffalo said. "They have come to enjoy it too."

Some of the short-term goals for the museum are to give it more of a contemporary museum feel with improved lighting and to improve the feel of the room. Meskwaki has enlisted the help of museum professionals for their advice.

"There will be a different flow to the room," said Stephanie Snow, historical preservation assistant.

The long-term goal is to have a bigger place near the casino, allowing for visibility to visitors of the casino and travelers on Highway 30. Buffalo said the new facility could be a part of the proposed Trading Post travel plaza expansion.

The museum is free and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and is located at 349 Meskwaki Road in the tribal office complex. For more information, or to book group visits, call the museum at 641-484-3185.



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